In a rain-interrupted ODI clash on Saturday (July 29), West Indies showcased a disciplined bowling performance and some superb fielding to defeat India by six wickets in a must-win game at Barbados.
With this victory, West Indies successfully levelled the three-match ODI series and marked their first ODI win against India in their last ten encounters.
Having won the toss and electing to field, the West Indian bowlers came back strong after a solid 90-run opening partnership between Ishan Kishan and Shubman Gill threatened to set India on a path to a big score.
Romario Shepherd and Gudakesh Motie starred for the hosts, both picking up three wickets each to dismantle the Indian batting line-up. India was eventually bowled out for a modest 181 in 41 overs, a total that seemed below par on a slow pitch offering turn and extra bounce.
Chasing the target, West Indies started the innings with confidence, thanks to a brisk opening stand between Kyle Mayers and Brandon King. Both batsmen displayed some elegant strokes and put India on the back foot early on.
However, Shardul Thakur’s double strike in the same over provided a glimmer of hope for India. The quick dismissals of Mayers and King brought Shai Hope to the crease, and he anchored the innings with a composed knock.
Despite the fall of a few wickets, Hope stood tall and found a reliable partner in Keacy Carty. The duo put on an unbeaten partnership of 91 runs, guiding West Indies closer to the target with each passing over.
Shai Hope, in particular, played a captain’s innings, reaching his well-deserved half-century and steering his team to victory with ease.
India, on the other hand, had opted for experimentation, resting key players like Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, in preparation for the upcoming home World Cup.
The young opening pair of Ishan Kishan and Shubman Gill showed some promise, but their dismissals triggered a collapse that India couldn’t recover from. Romario Shepherd’s well-directed bouncers and Gudakesh Motie’s clever spin variations caused considerable damage to the Indian middle order.
The Indian bowlers tried to make a comeback during the rain interruption, but West Indies showed composure and continued their pursuit of the revised target.
Despite the efforts of Shardul Thakur, who fought valiantly, India fell short, and West Indies sealed a comfortable win with more than 13 overs to spare.
West Indies’ all-round performance in the match was commendable, especially their disciplined bowling and impeccable fielding, which played a pivotal role in securing the victory. This win not only levelled the ODI series but also gave West Indies a much-needed boost of confidence ahead of the final match.
While India’s experimental approach did yield some positive signs, the team will need to regroup and address their vulnerabilities before the crucial third ODI.
The loss should serve as a learning experience for the young Indian players, who showed glimpses of potential but lacked the collective composure needed in challenging conditions.
As the series heads into its deciding encounter, both teams will aim to give their best and clinch the victory that will serve as a morale booster going forward. With the contest evenly poised, cricket fans can look forward to an exciting and closely-fought final match between West Indies and India.